The Admirals 25th home opener on October 11 is just days away! So we are counting down the days recognizing 25 memorable moments in the 25 years of Admirals Hockey, in a segment we call 25 in 25. Each day we will highlight a great moment in the Admirals proud 25-year history to get you set for the 2013-14 home opener!
#3: Admirals Win First ECHL Title Let's be clear about something. There may be some fans that will argue the placement of the Championships in this countdown. It's a good problem to have. Each and every single championship is special in it's own way, and really you can't put a ranking on it. There are many teams out there in the hockey world that still haven’t won a title, and would die to have just one. Others might have one, but waited a really long time to get it. They say you always remember your first, so we recognize the 1991 Admirals Championship team, which was the first one for Hampton Roads, and the only Admirals championship to date that was won on home-ice.
In just their second season, the Admirals entered the 1991 playoffs without some key players. High-flying scorer Brian Martin scored 55 goals during the season, but was lost for the remainder of the year with an injury he sustained with less than ten games remaining in the regular season.
In addition, Victor Gervais was lost for the playoff after suffering an injury in the very last game of the regular season. The loss of Martin and Gervais meant that someone had to step up in order for the team to be successful in the postseason.
Enter Dave Flanagan. Flanagan was one of several key acquisitions for the Admirals during the season. With 16 goals scored in 14 playoff games.
Another mid-season pick up was Kent Hawley, who was an outstanding pass and became a top faceoff guy in the league.
A third player was Pat Bingham, who was acquired in a trade with the Nashville Knights. Bingham totaled 28 points and a +16 rating in 28 games played with the Admirals.
Another deal made by Brophy was David Buckley being dealt to Johnstown in exchange for defenseman Rick Boyd who added muscle and leadership in the lockeroom.
Dean Morton was brought in to replace injured defenseman Greg Bignell. Prior to joining the Admirals Morton had for three other teams in different leagues that season. He double-shifted in the playoffs and finished with a +15 rating in the postseason alone.
Kurt Kabat had won a championship the previous season with Greensboro. The Monarchs waived him after 18 games into the 1990-91 season, and coach Brophy brought him on board. It was a good move because Kabat registered 41 points and a +24 rating 48 games with the Admirals, and fittingly enough scored four goals against his former team in the finals.
It’s safe to these players "stepped up." The Admirals made all of the right moves, and put together the puzzle together nicely despite losing a few pieces.
Let's also not forget the players the team already had on board such as Murray Hood (103 pts), Harry Mews (73 points), goaltenders Mark Bernard and Olaf Kolzig (15 seasons in the NHL) who all also helped paved the way to the title.
The Admirals defeated Greensboro in the Riley Cup Finals 4-1 and posted an 11-3 playoff record. The title set the standard for the team's winning tradition, and would go to win the following season, and its third ECHL title in 1998.
Later today we will recognize #2 on our countdown.